Agence France-Presse & Arab News & BBC News – 2015-06-05 01:48:00
Pakistan Hangs 3 Separatists for 1998 Plane Hijacking
Agence France-Presse & Arab News
KARACHI (May 28, 2015) — Pakistan on Thursday executed three Baluch separatists convicted of hijacking a plane in 1998, which they attempted to fly to India to disrupt Islamabad’s first nuclear tests, officials said. The executions were carried out on the 17th anniversary of the tests, which made Pakistan the worldâ€™s seventh nuclear-armed power — a landmark event for the impoverished Muslim country of 200 million people.
Two of the men, Shahsawar Baluch and Sabir Baluch were hanged in Hyderabad prison in southern Sindh province while the third, Shabir Rind, was hanged in Karachi, officials at both the prisons told AFP.
The trio were sentenced to death for hijacking a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft with 30 passengers on board on 24th May 1998, four days before the country’s first nuclear test.
The flight took off from the port town of Gwadar in Baluchistan and was set to land in the southern port city of Karachi when the men stormed the cockpit and tried to force the pilot to fly to India. But he instead flew to Hyderabad city, 160 kilometers (100 miles) northeast of Karachi, tricking the hijackers into thinking that they were in India.
The next day Pakistani army commandoes overpowered all the three hijackers in a night operation.
Officials said the executed hijackers were Baluch nationalists who were demanding greater autonomy for they resource-rich but impoverished province.
At the time of the hijacking, officials said that one of the hijackers’ demands was for Pakistan not to carry out the nuclear tests which were to due to be carried out in Baluchistan.
Pakistan went on to carry out five underground tests in the Baluchistan desert on 28 May 1998, in response to arch-rival Indiaâ€™s second nuclear tests earlier in the month. Separately on Thursday, a fourth hanging was also carried out, in Karachi jail, the prison official said. The executed man, Mahmood Ali, had been awarded the death sentence for murdering a three-year-old child in 2003.
A moratorium on the death penalty had been in force in Pakistan since 2008, but executions resumed last December after Taleban militants gunned down 154 people, most of them children, at a school in the restive northwest.
The moratorium was initially lifted only for those convicted of terrorism offenses, but in March was extended to cover all capital offenses. Before Thursdayâ€™s executions, the number of people executed since the moratorium was lifted stood at 128.
Pakistan hangs Baloch Insurgents behind 1998 Plane Hijacking
(May 28, 2015) — Pakistan has hanged three Baloch insurgents, 17 years after they hijacked a passenger plane with 30 people on board. The men were executed at jails in Karachi and Hyderabad. They hijacked a Pakistan International Airlines flight in May 1998 and ordered the pilot to fly to India but the plane was diverted and stormed by troops.
Pakistan has put at least 130 people to death since lifting a moratorium on executions in December.
The men — Shabbir Rind, Shahsawar Baloch and Sabir Rind — were members of the left-wing Baloch Students’ Organisation (BSO), who were demanding more resources, such as gas and electricity, for their region.
They were sentenced to be executed in October 1998 but remained on death row until a moratorium on executions was lifted after the Peshawar school massacre. Four other men were hanged on Thursday at jails across the country. They were convicted in murder cases and were not linked to the hijackers.
PIA flight 554 took off from Turbat, in the south of Balochistan, and was heading for Karachi when the attackers boarded during a stop-over in Gwadar. They commandeered the Fokker shortly after take-off, and demanded the captain fly directly to Delhi.
He told them there was not enough fuel, but agreed to bring the plane as far as Bhuj, an airstrip in Gujrat, India. Instead, he landed in Hyderabad where security forces were waiting.
China and North Korea refuse to divulge information on the number of executions that take place within their borders
BBC Urdu’s Riaz Sohail in Karachi reports that, in order to let the hijackers think they were in India, authorities banned the use of loudspeakers in mosques around the airport. Troops then stormed the plane and overpowered the hijackers. Passengers and crew were unharmed.
The hijacking on 24 May came just four days before Pakistan carried out nuclear tests in Balochistan, which the BSO opposed. The province is one of the most underdeveloped regions in the country and has become the site of a long-running conflict between separatists and security forces.
Executions around the World
According to Amnesty International, Pakistan has executed 139 people since December 2014 — 132 were carried out this year Figures for executions in other countries in 2015 are not yet available
In 2014, the countries with the highest number of reported executions were:
Saudi Arabia: 90,
USA: 35, and
In 2013 the numbers were:
Saudi Arabia: 79,
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